Massillon, Ohio, is under siege from Gov. Ted Strickland and the Humane Society of the United States over the town's tradition of stockpiling tigers for use as mascots during Massillon Washington High School football games. The indignation is palpable!
Massillon Washington High is nicknamed the Tigers—not an inventive nickname, but a proud, strong one. For 41 years, a live tiger named Obie—more accurately, a series of live tigers named Obie—has been stationed on the sidelines at football games, locked in a cage and generally looking menacing. Like that one scene on the train in Last Crusade, the tiger has been an effective means of startling the opponents (or River Phoenix, depending on which example you're going with here). The folks at the Humane Society have stood up and said — and I paraphrase here — "It belongs in a museum, or, if available, a well-regulated exotic animal preserve." Gov. Strickland has sided with them and will sign an executive order in the fall that will "stop the flow of dangerous, wild animals in the pet trade for keeping by people ill-equipped to care for them," thereby putting all those mom-and-pop exotic animal preserves out of business and whisking Obie away from Massillon High, presumably to the safe, lush confines of the Toledo Zoo.
If this order is signed, you won't be able to buy an alligator out of some guy's van at Cedar Point, or take in a good bear-baiting before Buckeyes-Wolverines at the Horseshoe. Gone will be Rick Nash's crazy exotic bird hunt. Ta-ta to Grady Sizemore's Back Alley Reptile House. These are made-up Ohio traditions that will disappear, much like the very real, very ridiculous tradition of having a fucking tiger on the sideline of a high school football game.
It's been a tough few days for Northeast Ohio. First, some basketball player from Akron moves, and then some grumpy old man who made comic books or something passes away. And now the governor wants to take away a small town's tiger? Enough is enough! Let Ohio have this one.
Final roar: Rule threatens Massillon mascot [Canton Repository]